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Dhaka wants stronger defence ties with Riyadh

  • Published at 05:53 pm May 18th, 2018
web-pm-hasina-saudi-military-exercise-focus-bangla-edited-16-04-2018.jpg
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina attends the concluding ceremony of Saudi Arabia-led joint grand military exercise "Gulf Shield-1"in the kingdom's eastern province of al-Jubail on April 16, 2018 Focus Bangla

The negotiation to conclude a Saudi proposed framework deal on defence cooperation is almost complete

Bangladesh plans to replicate the “Kuwaiti model” in developing its defence relations further with Saudi Arabia.

The negotiation to conclude a Saudi proposed framework deal on defence cooperation is almost complete and it is expected to be signed any time this year.

A senior government official, requesting anonymity, told the Bangla Tribune: “Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia both show interest to develop defence ties, but Dhaka has no intention to engage in any war.”

The official said Dhaka’s core policy was that, without the mandate of the United Nations, it would not engage in any war and the same principle was followed in the Bangladesh-Kuwait defence pact, which was signed in 1997.

Also, about 6,000 Bangladeshi defence personnel are now working in different capacities in Kuwait under a government-to-government arrangement, said the official, adding: “We also help them in defence construction and provide logistic support.”

“Bangladesh wants the same type of cooperation with Saudi Arabia.”

In the last two years, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited Saudi Arabia thrice. The most recent one was in April when she attended a defence exercise where Bangladesh also participated.

Defence and Security Adviser to the Prime Minister Tarique Ahmed Siddique had attended Saudi-led Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition held last November while army, navy and air force chiefs visited Riyadh this year.

Saudi Arabia has a huge defence budget and it wants cooperation from like-minded countries like Bangladesh, said another official.

The official said Saudi Arabia and Pakistan have had defence ties for a long time and Dhaka should have made similar approach to make the bond with Riyadh stronger.

Dhaka has joined Saudi-led Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition and taken part in different exercises including Gulf Shield-1, in which 22 countries participated.